The week's good news: June 21, 2018

It wasn't all bad!

A man mowing grass.
(Image credit: StockWithMe/iStock)

1. Town's oldest resident gets her own birthday parade

Martha Leach is turning 103 on July 6, but the celebration is already underway in Holly Springs, North Carolina. On Wednesday, friends drove Leach to the town fire station, where she was given a tour and a helmet. Then she hopped aboard Fire Engine #1, and was driven around town. People lined the streets, holding up signs and balloons, while Leach activated the siren. "It's the good Lord's plan for me to be here," she told WNCN. Firefighter Adam Godfrey drove Leach around, and asked her for some advice during the ride. "She said live a stress-free life, and enjoy your home and family," he said. "Always be loved by someone." Born in 1915 in Wagram, North Carolina, Leach moved to Holly Springs in 1948, and said she enjoys spending time relaxing on her front porch, just "sitting and looking."


2. Man spends his summer traveling the U.S. and mowing lawns for people in need

Rodney Smith Jr. is making a difference, one lawn at a time. Smith, a 28-year-old native of Bermuda, had just earned his master's degree in social work when he spotted an elderly man in Huntsville, Alabama, having a hard time mowing his lawn. Smith stopped to help, and "that night, I decided to mow lawns for the elderly, disabled, single moms, and veterans," he told CNN. He started the Raising Men Lawn Care Service, a foundation that finds people who need their lawns mowed and also inspires kids to give back. Last summer, Smith set off on a journey across the U.S. and mowed lawns in all 50 states. He's doing it again this year, and has challenged kids to join him by mowing 50 lawns, free of charge, in their hometowns. So far, 12 kids have hit that goal, and each one received their own lawnmower.

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3. Baltimore couple gets married by pilot on flight home from Vegas

Passengers on a Southwest flight from Las Vegas to Baltimore on Sunday suddenly found themselves at a wedding. With about 45 minutes left until landing, a passenger named Renee, decked out in a white dress, got up and began walking down the plane aisle to meet her groom, Michael, at the front of the cabin. As the other passengers started to realize what was happening, they pulled out their phones and started recording. The wedding was officiated by the pilot, who used an intercom so everyone could hear what was going on. The pilot announced that the pair met online four years ago, and had Michael promise to take Renee as his "travel companion when I become a Rapid Reward member," which got laughs from the crowd.


4. Smoking in the U.S. hits an all time low

Fewer Americans are smoking than ever before. New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics put the number of adult smokers in the year 2017 at about 14 percent of the population. The figure was around 16 percent in 2016, and 20 percent back in 2007. This trend points to "a general decline" in the smoking population, NBC News reported. Smoking among high school students is also at a new low. Dr. K. Michael Cummings, an addiction researcher at the Medical University of South Carolina, also noted that sales of cigarettes have fallen in recent years. "Everything is pointed in the right direction," he said.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention NBC News

5. Wisconsin neighbors discover they are long-lost sisters

When Dawn Johnson bought a house in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, she had no idea her new neighbors were family. She moved in last June, and quickly met Hillary and Lance Harris and their 5-year-old daughter, Stella. Hillary told The Associated Press that Stella was instantly "so drawn to" Johnson. Hillary was adopted as an infant, and in 2012 received information about her birth parents. She spent years searching for two sisters on her father's side, including one named Dawn Johnson, but to no avail. When Hillary saw a delivery in the driveway for Dawn, she asked her new neighbor the name of her father, and that's when she had confirmation it was her sister. The families now celebrate holidays, birthdays, and just normal days together. "I can feel the love," Hillary said.

The Associated Press

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